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The South Way

By , Woodburn, OR
It’s a cookie crumb. Well, at least it looks like it. His eyes are almost level with it. It’s almost impossible to see it. He reaches a quivering hand to it and gently picks it up. But it severs into dust. The moan that bursts out is atrocious. He pounds the ground. One would assume he went insane. After this, he gets up. It’s the end of his life, he figures. No need for such silliness, he thinks, might as well get it over with.

He sighs. He wishes for an instant that his luck would have hurried. But that passes away quickly. He sighs again. He starts to saunter leisurely. The sun is only a lazy predator for the first hour. But soon it is attacking and showing its’ mighty fierceness in the open valley. He would have soon become prey, if only that letter of hope doesn’t slip by. This man knows he had deserves to die since he had lost that one cookie-like piece in the tall, dry grass.

The letter comes unexpectedly. He should not have seen it. But it’s like an invisible hand yanks his head down so his eyes could catch the green leaf. He wouldn’t have noticed it if the plants around him would have been green and full of water. Since everything around him is yellow, tan and different shades of brown, he notices that green letter almost instantly.

It is his lifesaver. He bends to pick it up, but the wind catches it and it flutters away.

For some time he goes on trying to catch it, but the wind keeps on blowing it inches out of his grasp. He sighs. At first, he doesn’t understand why he is even interested in that green leaf. He looses interest and at that instant, the leaf is able to settle some feet in front of him.

He steps to it and picks it up.


Charlie, I know this
Seems mighty stupid to you,
Trust me
I think it was also
Insane and cruel.
But look, its not like you don’t
Have a chance to survive.
Follow the stream and
Go to the docks.
Doing this you’ll have a chance…
Trust me.




The mysterious leaf isn’t signed. Charlie doesn’t know what to do. The whole time he was walking he was aware that death would arrive before long. Now here is an opening….but who wrote it? How can he trust them/him/her? Well, even if he can’t trust them, it is a mighty good idea. An arrow of hope pierces his heart.

Charlie looks around. Wow! The leaf has brought him to a stream! He squats down and drinks deeply.

He starts following it. But then he stops. Which way to go? South, north? South, the stream was coming from the mountains and docks aren’t up in the mountains, right?
Right, he says to himself. So Charlie turns south. His story wouldn’t have been much different from other stories if he had just followed that stream.

Charlie walks for a long time. Everything around him is the way everything around a person should be. But behind the mountains isn’t anything that should be in the mountains. He looks up, stops and stares. Charlie is puzzled. From the mountains, there rises a beautiful billowing cloud. It looks like melted purple glass and it sparkles like diamonds. The clouds aren’t solid and Charlie is getting wrapped around in curiosity. He starts for the mountains.
From far away, the mountains look steep and dangerous. But Charlie discovers that it isn’t true when you start climbing. He ascends almost all the rest of the day. As the angry sun lowers itself, Charlie notices that the purple cloud glows in the shadows of the sky. It is almost like lightning; it’s very beautiful.
Soon, the earth around is roofed with a blanket of darkness. Charlie finds himself close to the top of the mountain he is hiking. With every mile that he journeys, it seems to him that the purple cloud is just moving or shrinking away.
Finally he reaches the peek. It is disappointing to him that the purple cloud did float away. As he stands there, drowsiness overwhelms him. He sinks to his knees, right there at the top, and sleeps.
That night, the mountain trembles. Then it erupts.
So long, Charlie.





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